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India’s Supreme Court Seeks Gov’t Report on Cryptocurrency in 2-Week Deadline

Last Updated March 4, 2021 3:03 PM
Samburaj Das
Last Updated March 4, 2021 3:03 PM

India’s Supreme Court, the country’s apex court, has directed the central government to present its official stance on cryptocurrency within two weeks.

In a telling move that seeks to end the ambiguity over the legality of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin in India, the government has been ordered to release its report on the cryptocurrency sector by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court has been inundated with multiple petitions filed by cryptocurrency exchanges and industry groups that have challenged a banking blockade enforced by the central bank in April, a crippling policy that has largely shuttered the domestic crypto sector.

While the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued multiple cautions against the use of cryptocurrency over the years (from as early as 2013), they aren’t illegal in the country.

As reported previously, the Reserve Bank of India has shunned responsibility when asked to provide clarity on the legal status of cryptocurrencies. It was a policy matter for the government, the central bank argued.

According to an Economic Times  report on Friday, a legal counsel representing nine cryptocurrency exchanges demanded the government bring some clarity.

“We have got employees. There are jobs,” counsel Nakul Dewan for the sector argued, in the same week wherein the co-founders of India’s largest exchange, Unocoin were arrested for installing a cryptocurrency ATM in the city of Bangalore.

An advocate for the central bank countered by claiming that the authority was ‘only trying to discourage the use of cryptocurrencies,’ insisting it was ‘a policy decision’ for the government.

The legality debate at the Supreme Court may be nearing its end. After hearing the arguments presented, the Supreme Court’s bench of Justices has demanded the government place its position before the court in two weeks’ time.

Featured image from Shutterstock.